The Other News in the Brown Poll

The biggest news to come out of the Brown University poll released yesterday was, of course, the solid support for gay marriage in Rhode Island: 60 percent in favor to just 31 percent opposed.

But there were some interesting numbers, too, on the prospective gubernatorial candidates. Treasurer Frank T. Caprio, expected to run in the Democratic primary, watched his approval numbers jump from 34 percent who felt he was doing a "good" or "excellent" job in February 2009 to 41 percent in the May poll.

That puts him just behind Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, also expected to run in the Democratic primary, who held steady at 47 percent - the highest of any statewide official in Rhode Island outside the Congressional delegation. That's not an Obama number, of course. But impressive, given that the AG's job involves high-profile, emotionally charged criminal cases that can backfire on the officeholder.

Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts, gearing up for a Democratic gubernatorial run of her own, continues to be dogged by low approval ratings - just 22 percent believe she is doing a "good" or excellent" job. But fully 40 percent of respondents said they "don't know" what to make of her performance, suggesting Roberts has ample room to define herself in the coming months.

It can be tough, though, to define oneself from the lieutenant governor's chair, given that the job does not come with a lot of responsibility. The challenge for Roberts, best known for the health care work she did as a legislator, will be to work with allies in the legislature and put a high-profile stamp on some significant legislation in the coming months.


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